The toys of my youth… and the toys of today

Growing up, I had a problem. I loved playing board games. My mom? Notsomuch. I distinctly remember a conversation that went something along the lines of

Me: Mom, we want to play The Game of Life. Will you play with us?

Mom: No thanks.

Me: But why??? You can play while you make dinner.

Mom: Fine. I’ll tell you. I really don’t like board games. Actually. I hate board games.

Me: That’s impossible. You can’t hate board games. No one hates board games. I know! You must be afraid of board games. (begins skipping and singing: Mom’s afraid of board games. Mom’s afraid of board games…)

Oh. Yes. I was a lovely, supportive daughter.


But this was a problem. Sure, I played with dolls. I even had (a few) favorites. My mom tells me I even liked playing dress up (I have no recollection of this, but she tells me “yup. you liked to look pretty then, too.”)  But I was a game and book gal. I had little desire for the 12-inch black-and-white TV my parents gifted me in my mid-teens or the Game Boys or Nintendos or Atari we received when they were new. What did I want each year for the holidays? Mom says my list was something along the lines of:

  • books
  • games
  • dress up
  • books
  • arts and crafts

My favorite toys growing up

Chalkboard, easel and craft supplies

I did love crafting and playing school. I played school like most little girls play house. And when it came to crafting, I was the teacher assigning the craft. Another memory of growing up? Going to Randi’s house where she had an entire area of her basement set aside for school and crafting. We were SO 2 cooks in the kitchen. Except we were two teachers in a classroom. And, my goodness. We were bossy teachers.

A remember the time our “teacher” instructed us to create Valentines for everyone in our “class.” We sat in our “classroom,” creating Valentines from the essential crafting supplies she had throughout our “classroom” (and she had many.)

Games, games, games

We had cabinets and cabinets of games. If a friend came to my house to play, she had no choice but to enjoy games. I had many favorites, but the ones that pop most in my memory were The Game of Life, Uno, Clue and Monopoly. In fact, one year I was a Monopoly board for Halloween.

And then there were the games I didn’t have. My friend Dawn had them. Oh, I was so jealous over her ownership of The Kids’ Allowance Game and Payday!

And then there were the catalogs

Like every child I know, a highlighted November event each year was Circling Time. Surely, you had it in your home. Every Sunday, we gave our parents peace by circling and initialing everything in toy catalogs that were even the tiniest bit enticing and gift-worthy. Which, of course, meant every. single. item. (Except, in my case, for cars and trucks.)

Now that’s a tradition I’ve continued for my children. Whether or not it’s gifted, Circling Time is a cherished time in our home. This year, my kids circled items are lining up well with KMart’s Fab 15 — a holiday toy list featuring in the ultimate toys that kids want this season.

KMart Fab 15

Kmart’s Fab 15 highlights the 15 toys that KMart’s industry insiders believe that your kids want and parents and gift-givers will want to give this holiday season. Included in the list are some of my 5-year-old daughter’s favorites:

best toys for 5 year old christmas

Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll by TollyTots

best toys for 5 year old girl christmas

FurReal Friends Get Up and GoGo My Walkin’ Pup Pet by Hasbro®

best toys for 5 year old christmas

Play-Doh® DohVinci Style and Store Vanity Complete Design Set by Hasbro®

bset toys for 5 year old christmas preschool

VTech® Kidizoom® Smartwatch (which she already has and sits at the very top of my top gift suggestions for preschoolers this year)

Find all these gifts, and 11 more, on the KMart Fab 15 toy list and are available online or at local KMart stores nationwide. Plus, exclusively for its Shop Your Way members, with any online purchase of a Fab 15 toy now through Nov. 22, Kmart is extending its free trial of the to Shop Your Way MAX program, which includes free two-day shipping for six months*.

This holiday season, Kmart is also encouraging customers to give the gift of hope by joining them in support of St. Jude’s commitment to saving children’s lives. Beginning Dec. 7, when customers purchase any of the Kmart Fab 15 toys, $1.00 will be donated to St. Jude – up to $25,000. Customers can also donate at check-out at any Kmart store or online now through Dec. 27. Kmart is the all-time leading corporate fundraiser for St. Jude

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

mom of 3 and wife living in the Philadelphia suburbs, Julie is a former elementary school teacher and a Public Relations manager. She is the owner/editor of Julieverse, a merchandiser with Chloe + Isabel ( and founder VlogMom and Splash Creative Media. A marketing strategist and freelance education and parenting writer by trade, Julie attempts to carve out time to enjoy playing with her kids, PTO, cooking and exercise.

© 2014, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.

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